Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Oxygen-regulated gene expression in murine cumulus cells

Karen L. Kind A B E , Kimberley K. Y. Tam A C , Kelly M. Banwell A C , Ashley D. Gauld A C , Darryl L. Russell A C , Anne M. Macpherson A C , Hannah M. Brown A C , Laura A. Frank A C , Daniel J. Peet D and Jeremy G. Thompson A C

A The Robinson Institute, Research Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

B School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

C School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

D School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: karen.kind@adelaide.edu.au

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 27(2) 407-418 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RD13249
Submitted: 5 August 2013  Accepted: 15 November 2013   Published: 6 January 2014

Abstract

Oxygen is an important component of the environment of the cumulus–oocyte complex (COC), both in vivo within the ovarian follicle and during in vitro oocyte maturation (IVM). Cumulus cells have a key role in supporting oocyte development, and cumulus cell function and gene expression are known to be altered when the environment of the COC is perturbed. Oxygen-regulated gene expression is mediated through the actions of the transcription factors, the hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). In the present study, the effect of oxygen on cumulus cell gene expression was examined following in vitro maturation of the murine COC at 2%, 5% or 20% oxygen. Increased expression of HIF-responsive genes, including glucose transporter-1, lactate dehydrogenase A and BCL2/adenovirus E1B interacting protein 3, was observed in cumulus cells matured at 2% or 5%, compared with 20% oxygen. Stabilisation of HIF1α protein in cumulus cells exposed to low oxygen was confirmed by western blot and HIF-mediated transcriptional activity was demonstrated using a transgenic mouse expressing green fluorescent protein under the control of a promoter containing hypoxia response elements. These results indicate that oxygen concentration influences cumulus cell gene expression and support a role for HIF1α in mediating the cumulus cell response to varying oxygen.

Additional keywords: hypoxia inducible factors, oocyte.


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